Begin Again

Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Mos Def, Hailee
Steinfeld, James Corden, Adam Levine, Catherine Keener
Direction: John Carney
Genre: Drama
Duration: 1 hour 44 minutes

Story: Gretta (Knightley) and Dave (Levine) are a couple but are also song-writing partners. When Dave gets his big break, will their love and artistic integrity be sacrificed at the altar of his musical success?

Review: Struggling record label exec Dan (Ruffalo) and Gretta are both a bit worn at the seams after being dealt a few bad cards by the hand of fate. Dan is no longer on talking terms with his wife Miriam (Keener) while Gretta is heartbroken and angry, for hell hath no fury like a woman cheated on. And in this case, the cheat is her longtime beau, fellow musician and apparent babemagnet Dave, who took matters beyond music and into the boudoir with a female producer in Los Angeles.

Gretta might be heartbroken with this betrayal and the proverbial ship set adrift in a lonely sea, but she is very talented and fiercely independent to boot. And if there’s one thing she knows, it’s how to pen a soulful song. Dan and Gretta’s paths cross in a bar one night, when Dan hears her sing. He is impressed enough to know that it’s not just the alcohol veil that makes her music sound so stirring to him.

This, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t signed any good talent in a while, leads him to do his damnedest to convince her to allow him as producer to help cut an album. Gretta is hesitant for various reasons but ultimately has one of those ‘Oh, what the heck’ moments and goes with Dan’s intuition.

Despite some hiccups, they manage to scrape together an album. Meanwhile, Gretta’s heart still harbours hope for Dave and when she sees him perform a song one day, it stirs old, bittersweet memories. Dave tries to make amends but is the cut of betrayal too deep for a superficial apology to heal? Gretta’s also now suspect of Dave’s balance between passion and commercialization. Decidedly different from super-budget, superhero fare, this one is sometimes sappy but mostly engaging and definitely driven by music.

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